Financial confidence remains ‘fragile’

DESPITE official readings that the recession here is technically over, financial confidence amongst Irish consumers is still in a fragile state, according to a new survey.

The latest quarterly financial confidence index from financial services group, Standard Life shows a slight dip in its current reading — for the three months to the end of June — from 53.3 to 53.1.

“One of the disappointing survey results is the low confidence scores prevalent amongst younger respondents,” commented Standard Life Ireland’s head of marketing Brendan Barr.

He was pointing to the fact that those respondents aged between 25 and 34 are the least financially secure, while those between 18 and 24 years of age experienced the largest decline in confidence since the preceding quarter.

The survey also showed that sentiment towards purchasing buy-to-let property has actually picked up in the past three months — actually rising for the third quarter in a row, even though overall financial confidence isn’t overly high.

Nearly one third of respondents think now is a good time to purchase in the buy-to-let segment.

“Given the ongoing adverse publicity surrounding NAMA and its property portfolio, it’s perhaps surprising that domestic buy-to-let property is not viewed more negatively.

“However, prices have fallen significantly from their peak so perhaps some investors are beginning to seek value,” added Mr Barr.

The latest Standard Life index also showed — perhaps unsurprisingly — that those living in Dublin were most financially confident, with Munster natives increasing in confidence.

There were confidence falls, however, in Leinster (excluding Dublin) and Connacht and Ulster.


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